During the celebration of their centenary year as a society, The University of Western Australia’s Dramatic Society (UDS) presents its latest offering, The Magician. Written by Matthew Nixon and Rupert Williamson in addition to being directed by Ralph Thompson. A raw, emotional drama set in the 1972 summer of working class Australia, The Magician explores the ever-changing lines of fantasy and reality. We are thrown into the viewpoint of Ned, a fifteen-year-old boy as he navigates and reflects on his life, which is in the clutches of catastrophe.
I should mention how incredibly striking and delicious the overall visual aesthetic of the performance was. The monochromatic, transformative and above all surrealist set looked as if it was a still from an art piece by Mary Reid Kelley. The lighting design married the set perfectly and was incredibly evocative.
The writing of the show, while confusing at times was mostly outstanding. I felt it gave great respect to the circumstances of the characters, and ultimately made it feel very human. The dynamic between Ned, brilliantly played by George Samios, and the illustrious Magician portrayed with great charm by Lewis Buchanan, created quite an interesting chemistry in all the confusion. Much of the same can be said between Ned and the wonderfully represented, Loz (Megan Aspinall). The smattering of smaller roles, such as that of the Librarian and the Dogs also helped make everything that much more passionate and real.
I think ultimately where The Magician shines is in its honesty, and humanity. It transformed things that are difficult into something accessible, but still managed to maintain a high level of respect for the subject manner. The family dynamics where intense to say the least, notably the characters of Wayne (Rupert Williamson) and Barb (Rebecca Warrand) helped to give a fully fleshed image of the complexity of the family experience.
If anything, The Magician will keep you thinking long after you exit the theatre. I don’t think the ultimate message of the show is to understand, but instead to feel. The Magician was personable, wonderful but above all, magical.